|
|
Examiner
  • Editorial: One year later, a stronger community

    • email print
  • In many ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the Boston Marathon bombings. Partly it’s because the images and stories from that day have been ever present. And, because we and our friends and families were directly involved, April 15, 2013 is not simply our past but our present.
    In preparing for this solemn first anniversary of that tragedy, much has been made about lessons learned. Today isn’t the day to discuss the perpetrators of the bombing or second-guess the response. This day belongs to us. This is a day to remember the dead, the injured, and the countless heroes who came to their aid.
    Thousands of stories of heroic compassion have emerged in the days since the bombing. One of the iconic images, taken by MetroWest Daily News photographer Ken McGagh, shows Boston Firefighter Jimmy Plourde carrying bombing victim Victoria McGrath. In it, a colorful scarf is tied off just below her left knee, her legs are bloodied, one black shoe is missing and her face burrows into his shoulder as her arms cling to him for dear life. Moments before, Bruce Mendelsohn had tied the tourniquet around McGrath’s leg, saving her from bleeding out after a piece of shrapnel had severed an artery.
    We think of Bill Dockham, a nurse who volunteered to staff a medical tent just 50 feet from the finish line. After the bombs went off, he stepped outside and saw Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs to the bombs. Dockham said his instinct was to run, to save himself, but his heart overran his head and he stayed. For what seemed like hours, he treated those who had lost limbs and others bleeding out from shrapnel wounds.
    There’s Carlos Arredondo, a Gold Star father, who leaped across a fence, and comforted Bauman as another man tied tourniquets around the man’s thighs. Together, they pushed Bauman in a wheelchair to a waiting ambulance and saved his life. Bauman is expecting his first child this summer.
    There were the off-duty police officers, firefighters, veterans fresh from war, paramedics, doctors, nurses, all there to run or volunteer or cheer on another, but who instead went to work saving untold lives.
    After 12 months of healing, the injured still carry scars. So do those who witnessed the horror first-hand. But even those who simply watched it unfold on TV, who heard the accounts from friends, who cried for victims they’d never met and sent money to help people they never knew, bear the marks of that day.
    Hemingway wrote that "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." As we examine again those year-old wounds, we can take comfort in the strength the greater Boston community acquired through its pain.
      • calendar